ACAPS Briefing Note: Migration from the Horn of Africa via Egypt to Europe (12 December 2016)
Anticipated scope and scale
More than 173,500 migrants have reached Italy so far in 2016, around 29,000 more than in the same period last year. While migrant flows are expected to continue, the rate is likely to fall in winter.
The estimated number of deaths on the Central Mediterranean route has grown disproportionately, to over 4,200 people this year compared to less than 2,900 at the same point in 2015. It is unknown how many people die on their journey though Africa
Priorities for humanitarian intervention
Protection: Migrants face detention, sexual exploitation and forced labour. More unaccompanied minors are arriving in Italy.
Livelihoods among populations along the route.
Health: access to healthcare is poor .
Lack of access to people who are smuggled or trafficked
Political insecurity in transit countries.
Competing funding allocations to meet livelihood and humanitarian needs of host populations and refugees in countries of migrant transit.
The number of migrants arriving in Europe has fallen dramatically in 2016, to 350,000. 1,000,000 arrived in 2015. This is mainly due to the EU–Turkey agreement of March 2016, which has meant very few people are now arriving in Greece (only 17,000 since April, compared to 851,000 in 2015). Most people on this route come from Syria (IOM 06/12/2016).
However, numbers have not fallen on the other routes, and protection concerns in particular remain high. The number using the Central Mediterranean route – arriving in Italy from Libya, Egypt, or Algeria – has increased in 2016. 153,600 arrived in Italy in 2015, and 173,500 so far in 2016 (IOM 06/12/2016). 4,200 deaths at sea had been reported by the end of November, compared to close to 2,900 at the same time last year (IOM 06/12/2016, IOM 05/12/2016). This large increase is likely due to increased overcrowding on inadequate vessels. Most protection incidents reported along the route are reported in Libya.
The profile of the people using these routes has not changed dramatically. The vast majority are from sub-Saharan Africa, although an increase in Egyptians arriving in Europe has been observed. In part due to the increase in Egyptian arrivals, there has been a slight increase in the number of people who leave Egypt, although Libya remains by far the most-used route. Syrians and Afghans, who made up the majority of people using the eastern route via Greece, do not appear to have begun taking the Central route.
It remains to be seen how EU agreements with African states will impact on migration flows. Neither is it clear whether the number of Somalis will increase given the closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.
4,200 deaths at sea had been reported by the beginning of December, compared to around 2,900 at the same time last year (IOM 06/12/2016, IOM 05/12/2016). There are indications that as many people are killed on the land journey as at sea. The RMMS Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism Initiative (4Mi) reported, based on interviews with over 1,300 migrants between 2014 and 2016, that 1,245 people perished on the move in Libya, Sudan, and Egypt. This is assumed to be a huge underestimate, given the degree of underreporting. Lack of access to medicine, food, water and shelter contribute to the deaths, as do vehicle accidents (RMMS 27/06/2016, Reuters 25/02/2016).
Migrants face multiple risks of physical and sexual abuse, as well as other mistreatment by bandits and smugglers. They are at high risk of abduction and kidnapping, held until family members or friends pay a ransom (RMMS 16/07/2016). Access to humanitarian assistance is hindered by their constant movement and irregular status.